The cyclo-cross riders at Sunday's World Cup race in Zolder, Belgium, might do better on skis than bikes. Northern Europe has been treated to a rare White Christmas, with even more snow arriving on Sunday. Some observers reported up to 30 centimetres of snow on the course.
"Pfff ... This is tricky stuff “, Belgian coach Rudy De Bie told Sportwereld.be.
"But don't expect a quick sliding party," he said, after checking out the course on Saturday. “Because there is so much snow, you sink pretty deep. And it is similar to long stretches of sand: stamping and pushing hard."
The coach said that World Cup leader Niels Albert would not be favoured to win, as such a snowy course does not suit him. “I would not call him the favourite, but that is not so bad. He would lose fewer places than on a fast, icy course. Besides, it is clear that Niels has concentrated on the World Cup.”
The favourite is Sven Nys, because “this fits him like a glove.”
The organizers have taken the unusual step of removing the ice from the asphalt sections. They have sprinkled salt or sand on it, “an exceptional measure on the circuit. But I'm still wondering it they will get it completely free of ice.”